The Best Responses to Rude Behavior
How to stand your ground and avoid blowing your top.
You’re heading somewhere on the interstate, minding your own business, when a car suddenly swerves into your lane inches ahead of you, barely missing your bumper but giving you plenty of time to fume about it―through the next three states.
Advice: If you’ve been cut off, “take a deep breath and let it go,” says Dini von Mueffling, coauthor of The Art and Power of Being a Lady ($12, amazon.com). “You pick your battles in life, and when health and body are at stake, it’s just not worth the trouble. And it takes so much less energy to ignore it than to work yourself up over it.”
Supermarket Line Cutters
You are waiting near the front of the line at the Piggly Wiggly when a woman with two weeks’ worth of groceries for a family of six barrels in front of you and stays there, apparently oblivious to the rules of line formation most of us learned in kindergarten. Her math skills aren’t much better: It’s the express lane―12 items or fewer.
Advice: Etiquette writer Lesley Carlin recommends a simple and clear interjection: “Something like, ‘The end of the line is actually over there.’ And you want to do it politely, not aggressively―not ‘Hey! Get back there!’ Saying something when other people are around usually shames the person into doing the right thing.” Plus, as von Mueffling points out, “it’s rare that someone who’s caught in the act will engage in debate.” In the case of this express-line invader, if you don’t feel like saying something, you can hope the cashier will take action.